Replacing Hilotrons with Filtertrons in a 1966 Tennessean

Adraj

Electromatic
Sep 15, 2022
6
NYC
Hello All.. Want to replace the Hilotrons on my 1966 Tennessean with some Filitertrons but have discovered that it would require a rerouting of the guitar to accommodate the FTs.. it seems. Does anyone know if there are perhaps Filtertrons made that are direct replacements for Hilottrons? Thanks much!
 

Chmason85

Country Gent
May 1, 2018
1,220
Philadelphia
Hello All.. Want to replace the Hilotrons on my 1966 Tennessean with some Filitertrons but have discovered that it would require a rerouting of the guitar to accommodate the FTs.. it seems. Does anyone know if there are perhaps Filtertrons made that are direct replacements for Hilottrons? Thanks much!
I thought these were the same size?
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 13, 2009
23,214
Monkey Island
Modern yes, vintage HiLos no.

Vintage HiLos with Filters are not interchangeable. Don’t do it.

First time I've heard of this in 13 years of GT lol!

I would probably have suggested to get a modern HT set and have them rewound to your desired spec(set the vintage set aside, it’s money in the bank), but that seems a moot point now.
 
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Baba Joe

Synchromatic
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 17, 2010
504
new jersey
It’s your guitar to do with as you please, but I agree with drmilktruck - don’t do it. It took me years to appreciate the Hilo’s in my Tennessean. They just fill a spot like others don’t.
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 13, 2009
23,214
Monkey Island
OK I casually googled a bit but can’t seem to find a direct reference. Why can a vintage Hilo not be replaced by a modern Filtertron??
 

S.R.Cash

Gretschie
Aug 29, 2019
454
Ontario, Canada
I don't know man... those Hilo's can adapt well to a lot of situations. I have two extremes, early Rockabilly and Western swing, and sometimes Post Punk New Wave. I can coax those pickups into exactly what I need in both worlds.
 

Adraj

Electromatic
Sep 15, 2022
6
NYC
Thanks for your responses. Informative. I like the Hilotrons but definitely want Filtertrons. Don't want to re-rout the gtr so .. we'll see.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
19,547
Petaluma
Another option would be to find a custom pickup winder to build a filtertron that would fit that route. Not sure if it's possible.
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 13, 2009
23,214
Monkey Island
I like the Hilotrons but definitely want Filtertrons. Don't want to re-rout the gtr so .. we'll see.

I think that might prove problematic...
A filtertron is always gonna have more height on account of it's construction. Where the Hilo has the magnet on the side of the bobbin, a Filtertron is 2 bobbins with a bulky bar magnet underneath, even when you change out the magnet with a flat bar (like in a modern Blacktop) it's gonna end up too high.
 

Ric12String

Synchromatic
Jun 6, 2008
513
California
Before you do anything to your guitar, why don't you give TV Jones a call and talk to him about what you are hearing in your head that is missing from the guitar with the vintage Hi-Lo pickups. He is pretty good about interpreting the remarks of players about what they are searching for and he can make recommendations to you after having worked on countless Gretsch guitars over the years. And he won't be fixated on keeping the Hi-Los (even though that is also my predisposition) as he probably can tell you if he has a Filter'Tron that will fit into the smaller route under the Hi-Los. TV is a wonderful guy who is really easy to talk to. Be sure to have your questions lined out in advance, however, as he is a really busy guy.
 


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